Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education, Health & Behavior Studies

First Advisor

Zarrina Azizova


The rising costs of college attendance and the diminishing availability of viable funding sources cause students to incur debt in order to pursue postsecondary education. This dissertation in practice examines how one tribal education funding program contributed to the successful transition between high school and college for the enrolled members of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara (MHA) Nation in North Dakota. I used a quantitative method to examine which pre-college and in-college characteristics were associated with the success outcomes, such as retention and academic achievement (as measured by the first-year college GPA) after the first year of transition to a postsecondary institution. The data set was compiled manually from the program participants’ application forms. The variables of interest included high school grade point average, high school diploma or GED, on/off reservation high school, first-generation, Pell Grant eligibility, institution type, major, first-year grade point average, and retention from first to second year of college. The sample represented 100 participants of the tribal funding program with the evidence showing a higher GPA for those students who earned a high school diploma compared to those students who earned a GED. Other significant findings were associated with students enrolled in a STEM major versus a non-STEM major. Implementation for practice includes a proposal of an assessment model for the MHA Pathways Program to be able to track student success outcomes and relationships with other college variables.